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2010 Crop Tech Tour shows farmers getting more from precision tools, data

Jeff Caldwell 10/20/2010 @ 2:45pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Mother Nature ruled the Crop Tech Tour the last couple of years: Excess moisture created challenges for many farmers, widened the harvest timeframe and made it tough to get an accurate feel for how some new tools worked in the field.

But, this year's warm, dry harvest season in the Corn Belt so far is giving a lot of farmers the chance to not just see better how new technology tools are performing, but also use past experience to make them even larger parts of their farms.

So, what's working? Precision ag tools remain high on most farmers' tech lists. But, the 2010 crop year showed one clear trend on the Crop Tech Tour: As more farmers gain experience with tools like GPS and autosteer, they're starting to use them more often and in different, more advanced ways. In other words, after having gleaned precise data from their fields for a few years, they're now starting to put those tools -- and the data gleaned -- to better use.

Farmers are starting to use some tools during a longer timeframe during the growing season, not just during specific times in the year like planting, spraying or combining, according to Mike Brandert, a Deere AMS consultant with Platte Valley Equipment in Fremont, Nebraska.

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